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'People': They’re Just Like 'Us'?

'Us Weekly' site refresh looks a lot like rival's
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Wenner Media's Us Weekly likes to say celebrities are “just like us.” But when Us gave its website a facelift this week, the result looked a lot like its colossal rival People’s.

Now, both share key features on the home page, like a prominent image in the middle of the page, above a style section and video unit.

Us has moved its news feed to the left-hand column, above the top five stories, the same as People’s layout.

Both even have the same deal on the upper right-hand corner, an offer for four free issues for gifting the magazine.

While it's true both use layout features common to many news sites, the head-to-head rivalry between the two celebrity sites makes the similarities more obvious.

Romina Rosado, executive producer of Usmagazine.com, said Us refreshed the site this week as it prepares to make additional changes in the fall, including the addition of interactive features. She said any resemblance to People.com is coincidental, though. “It’s an entertainment and celebrity news website,” she said. “There aren’t too many ways you can skin the cat.”

The changes come as Us hits what it says is an all-time traffic high for the month of August, with 18 million uniques, more than double its August 2010 level. 

A rep for People, owned by Time Inc., sniffed: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”